Tiny Wisdom: What Is Truly Great

“To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.” -Charles de Montesquieu

There is a very specific type of post I look for when reading guest contributions. It’s not expert advice, though clearly it helps to have a thorough knowledge of a topic. It’s not beautiful prose, though obviously it’s enjoyable to receive a post that reads like poetry.

What I look for is bravery in honesty. You can clarify the wording and expand on the advice, but you can’t create authenticity through editing.

I’d far prefer to read a post about depression from someone who admits their own experiences than from someone who only discloses where they received their PhD. I’d be much more interested in a post about fear from someone who admits what terrifies them than a well-crafted article from an author who seems to be without struggles of his own.

I haven’t always written vulnerably because once upon a time I thought this undermined my authority–and I wanted people to trust me. Then I realized that the people I trust the most in life are the ones who aren’t afraid to show me that they, too, are fallible.

We, as a society, often set ourselves up for massive falls from grace by catapulting ourselves and our public figures onto pedestals, where we’ll inevitably fall.

We are all only human. And none of us have it all figured it out–not even the people we trust to lead, guide, inspire, and blaze a trail for us. No matter how much we have to teach, we still have much to learn.

Admitting this isn’t insecurity; it’s honesty. Of course, there’s a balance to be struck. If we hope to be a force for good, we have to be good to ourselves so that being humble doesn’t preclude us from being strong.

The point is that we can’t reach other people by extending a hand from 1,000 miles above them. We have to acknowledge that we’re in the same boat in order to help steer each other straight.

I may not know you, but I know I am a lot like you, and that we can relate to each other. I know that we are not alone with our challenges and feelings. And knowing that is truly great.

Photo by Akuppa

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She started the site after struggling with depression, bulimia, c-PTSD, and toxic shame so she could recycle her former pain into something useful and inspire others do the same. She recently created the Breaking Barriers to Self-Care eCourse to help people overcome internal blocks to meeting their needs—so they can feel their best, be their best, and live their best possible life. If you’re ready to start thriving instead of merely surviving, you can learn more and get instant access here.

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